THE RUH (The Soul)

Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrated: "Human beings, Jinn, Malaika (Angels), and Shaytan are created with a Ruh (soul). Besides these, all other living creatures are without a Ruh and only have the capacity to respire.

There are two kinds of Ruh, the 'obedient Ruh' and the 'disobedient Ruh' and each will be judged in accordance with its objectives and intentions i.e. while the Ruh is inside a person, he will be rewarded or punished according to his amal (deeds). Muhammad Ibn Tirmidi (R.A) also categorises the Ruh in two groups narrating that one controls movement while the other controls life. Regarding the disobedient Ruh, Allah (SWT) says in Surah al-Tawbah (Q9:42), "...Yet they will swear by Allah (SWT)(saying): If we had been able we would surely have set out with you. They destroy their souls, and Allah (SWT) knows that they verily are liars."

Allah (SWT) also says in Surah al-Baqarah (Q2:102) regarding the disbelievers, "...And they learn that which harms them and profits them not...".

"...and surely they do know that he who traffics therein (i.e. in magic) will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter..."

Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrated that after the creation of Adam (A.S.), Allah wanted to give his body a Ruh. He ordered the Ruh to enter into Adam's (A.S.) mind, when it did so, the Ruh wondered around in his mind for two hundred years. After this time, the Ruh entered into his eyes and analysed the structure of his body. When the Ruh entered into his ears, Adam (A.S.) listened to the Angels' dhikr. The Ruh then went into his nose this made Adam (A.S.) sneeze and the Ruh came out. Allah (SWT) taught him to say 'Al-hamdulillah.' When Allah (SWT) heard His hamd (praise), Allah (SWT) replied 'Ar-hakumullah'(may Allah SWT bless you), and Allah (SWT) welcomed him. The Ruh then went into his mouth and ears.

Allah (SWT) said to the Angels and Jinns to give Him something in return for what He has given them. The Angels and the Jinns replied, "Allah (SWT) what have we got to give you? You are everything." Allah (SWT) then asked the Angels to pull Adam (A.S)'s nose. Immediately, Adam (A.S) said 'al-hamdulillah'. In reply, Allah (SWT) said, "Ar-hakumullah". Allah (SWT) said to the Angels and Jinns, "You could not give me what I wanted but, I have got it from Adam (A.S)").

Then the Ruh went into Adam's (A.S) chest upon which he hurriedly tried to stand up but failed to do so. This is the reason Allah (SWT) said 'Wa kanal insanu azula', which means 'human beings are restless and impatient'. The Ruh then entered into the stomach of Adam (A.S.), this made him feel hungry. The Ruh then entered in his entire body, nerves, veins, blood and flesh came into being. Allah fashioned Adam (A.S) beautifully. All edges of the body became shielded with nails. Gradually, the body became more elegant and attractive, but because of the mistake Adam (A.S.) made, Allah changed his appearance and covered his elegant nails with skin and flesh, but as a sign of remembering his wrongdoing, Allah left a small amount of nail at the end of the fingers and toes.

Since Adam (A.S.), every human being is created with a Ruh and Ruhwyn, the two entities are so intertwined that they are inseparable in practice. Ruhwyn is part of the Ruh like arms, hands, and feet are part of a person's body. Without these constituent parts, there is no body and vice versa. One key difference between Ruh and Ruhwyn, however, is that Ruh can move about freely within the body and does not necessarily have a fixed location, while Ruhwyn's is fixed and is located between the two eye-brows. When the Ruh leaves the body, the person is dead, but when the Ruhwyn leaves the body, the person may be asleep and/or may be in a dream state. The Ruh always remains within the body and has the capacity to bring back Ruhwyn as and when it desires.

Ruhwyn leaves and enters the body through a small hole in the nose. For example, while undergoing surgery, the Ruhwyn will leave the body and wander outside, the person may appear dead as a result with no sign of breathing or heartbeat but in fact he has only fallen into a dream state. When the Ruhwyn re-enters his body, the person reawakens. The person has, therefore, not returned from the dead. For the body to be dead, the Ruh is no longer in the body. At the point of death, the Ruh is placed in the horn of Israfil (A.S.) along with the Ruh of every person that has ever existed and died since Adam (A.S.) and will exist until the Day of Judgement. The Ruh (if it is the obedient Ruh) will then be placed in the grave along with the body and a window will be created in the grave leading to heavens until the Day of Judgement.

It is narrated in Hadith that with the order of Allah (SWT), the mumins' Ruh will be placed in a green bird and his name will be registered in a holy book called Elleen by the Angels (see chapter 2). While, the Ruh of a Kafir will be placed inside a black bird and kept in Sijjeen, a place inside hell, and his name will be registered in a book. After the Kafir's Ruh has left the body, it is first taken towards the seven skies by the Angels for punishment. However, as the door to the skies will be locked, the Ruh will be taken back to its body in the grave. In the grave a window will be created leading straight to hell. Through this window, there will be a permanent vision of hell for the Kafir's Ruh to see like having a television screen inside the grave.

The Ruh of a Prophets (A.S) will be placed in Jannat-ul-Adan, and they will have a window in their grave. Inside the grave, the prophets will remain in sajdah (prostration). The Ruh of a martyr will be placed inside a green bird within a heaven called Jannat-ul-Ferdos. They will be prostrated in heaven and will be able to move about and prostrate and they will rest on a 'hanging' place under the 'Arsh' (Allah's Throne).

The Ruh of a Muslim baby will be like a bird inside the heaven, the Ruh of a baby of a Mushriq or Munafiq will be inside heaven and there, they will wonder about until the Qiyamat. They will have no fixed place but after Qiyamat they will give the service to a Mumin.

The Prophet (S.A.S) says "The person inside the grave can hear footsteps of people but they have no power to speak or move". Hazrat Abu Hurayra (R.A) narrated that our Prophet (S.A.S) said "There are Mumins, that when they are dead they will come and stay with their family for one month and watch over the members of their families, their activities, distribution of their wealth, how they spend it and whether they have met their other demands and debts. When the month is over, and if they have permission from Allah (SWT), the Ruh will come out of the body to look for people who are praying for them and to watch over their activities. They will spend one year doing this. Until the horn of Israfil (A.S.), the Ruh will be free to move about, but after the horn of Israfil (A.S.) the Ruh will be put back inside the body."

In Hadith Sharif it is narrated that there are certain bodies that will never rot. These are the bodies of: (1) A Shaheed (i.e. a martyr); (2) A Truthful Alim (religious scholar); (3) A Ghazi (one who has fought in the way of Allah (SWT) and survived); (4) A Hafiz of Quran (that is to say, one who has memorised it); (5) A Mu'ezzin (one who regularly gives the call to prayer); (6) A Righteous King; (7) A woman who has died during delivery; (8) Those who have been tortured unjustly; (9) A person who has died during the day or night of Jum`ah (Friday); (10) A person who has died during the day or night of Arafat.

As air being caught in the water becomes a bubble for a moment and as the waves of the air being caught in the hollow vessel became a sound, so intelligence being caught by the mind and body became the soul.

Therefore intelligence and soul are not two things; it is only the condition of intelligence which is the soul. The intelligence in its original aspect is the essence of life, the spirit. But when this intelligence is caught in an accommodation such as the body and mind, it's original nature of knowing, then knows and that knowing intelligence becomes consciousness. The difference between consciousness and the soul, is that the soul is like a mirror, and the consciousness is like a mirror which shows a reflection in it.

Purity is attained by purifying the soul from all foreign attributes that it has acquired therefore discovering the real nature and the character of the soul.

For example, pure water means something in its original form, element. If it happens that there is sugar and milk in the water, then the one who wishes to analyse it, will separate the elements and will try to see the water in its pure condition.

Sufism is the analysis of the self, the self which has for the moment become a mixture of three things, body, mind and soul. By separating the outer two garments of the soul, the sufi discovers the real nature and the character of the soul and in this discovery he is the secret of the whole life.

The soul who by nature is free, feels uncomfortable in the life of limitation in spite of all that this world can offer. When the soul experiences the highest degree of pain, it refuses all that this world can offer to it in order to fly from the spheres of the earth, it seeks the spheres of liberty, the freedom of which is the sufi's predisposition. There is a longing hidden beneath all other longings man has, and that longing is for freedom. This is sometimes satisfied by walking in solitude, when one is left alone for a time, when one is fast asleep, when one is in meditation in which for a moment the activity of both mind and the body is suspended. Therefore the sages have chosen solitude and always have shown love for nature, they have all adopted meditation as a method of obtaining that goal which is the freedom of the soul.

In this progression through life, the physical body passes through the stages, from infancy to youth, adulthood and old age. Similarly, the soul passes through the specific evolutionary stages or stations. The Arabic word for such a station is "muqam", it means stopping or resting place. Through the whole of your life you will be in one of the following stations:

Muqam an-nafs: The Station of Egotism.

Muqam al-qalb: The Station of the Heart.

Muqam ar-rah: The Station of the Pure Spirit.

Muqam as-siri: The Station of Divine Secrets.

Muqam ar-qurb: The Station of Proximity (nearness) to Allah.

Muqam ar-isal: The Station of Union.

From the moment of birth, we are constantly striving to develop the soul and progress. This effort can be worked out and measured by referring to these stages. Obviously not everyone attains these stages, it is important to realise that it is not the body as such that makes this journey, but rather the ruh.

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